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Halo TV Series Premiere Threatened By Shocking Lawsuit

Live-action projects based on video games have come a long way from the unfortunate days of the original "Super Mario Bros." movie. This is a day and age of wild, entertaining video game-based movies like "Detective Pikachu" and "Sonic the Hedgehog," but perhaps more importantly, the time of excellent small screen adaptations of famed game franchises. Netflix's "The Witcher" is technically based on a book series, but draws an awful lot of inspiration from the games, too. HBO's upcoming "The Last of Us" series has one of the most alluring post-apocalyptic games out there to draw from. And then there's "Halo." 

The popular futuristic first-person shooter is getting a Paramount+ live-action series starring Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, and by the looks of the first full-length trailer of "Halo," the sci-fi show will be every bit as wild as the games it's based on. The day of the show's premiere is drawing nearer and nearer, but before viewers get to the good stuff, there seems to be a dark cloud on the horizon. In fact, the "Halo" TV series premiere is currently threatened by a shocking lawsuit.

A lawsuit over unpaid music royalties could block Halo's release

20 years' worth of unpaid royalties sounds like enough money to file a lawsuit over, and according to a report by Eurogamer, two composers who worked on "Halo's" soundtrack are doing just that. Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori composed the original game's extremely recognizable music — which has been used by the franchise in a number of ways — for Bungie, which Microsoft later acquired. According to O'Donnell, they filed their lawsuit back in June 2020 after failing to reach an understanding with Microsoft, and are now fighting for what they say is their just share of the spoils. Microsoft maintains that the composers operated on a work-for-hire basis, but O'Donnell says this isn't the case.

"It was never work-for-hire," O'Donnell said. "It was always a licence deal. So that's what we did with Halo. With the first Halo music ever, that was written and recorded in 1999 for the first time. It was licensed to Bungie. Bungie didn't get bought by Microsoft for over a year."

Per O'Donnell, the issues between the composers and Microsoft have been brewing pretty much since 2000, and with the 2020 lawsuit fanning the embers into full-on flames, things now seem to have reached a point where the composers' legal team could potentially block the planned launch of the "Halo" show. This doesn't necessarily happen, mind you. Successful mediation is still possible, but if things truly come to it, an injunction that stops the "Halo" adaptation on its tracks might still be possible. Count on Looper to keep you informed about the developments of this story.   

"Halo" is currently set to premiere on Paramount+ on Thursday, March 24.